People Are People, Athletes Included

A quick glimpse at the headlines on a national sports news site looked more like a tabloid.

Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil showed a gun in a traffic incident.

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was arrested for a domestic violence misdemeanor. 

The Paterno family planned to fight against the Freeh report.

Knicks guard Jason Kidd was cited for driving while intoxicated.

Tomorrow, the headlines may change, but certainly similar stories will be at the top of the site. The site in question doesn't matter, as it could be any number of sports-related publications.

As long as the law exists, there will be violators. Every day, people are arrested in this grand country and most of them go unnoticed.

It's under the bright lights of the inflated sports world that the illegalities are pointed out and followed until the very end. Certainly there's a value to it for those who follow the games. After all, sports are entertainment. Sometimes forgotten by those deeply emotionally invested, it's an entertainment business.

For those who follow the team that pays the arrested player, there's anger or disappointment. How could someone's favorite player do that? How could they jeopardize a number of games or a career?

Why run afoul from the law when making millions?

It hurts the fans at times because it hurts the team. In Paterno's case, it hurts much deeper for a multitude of reasons.

Alas, that's another topic for another day.

In going back to the issue at hand of the law and athletes, one thing is sometimes forgotten.

People in professional sports are people.

They are inherently flawed, just as the neighbor who plays loud music until 4 a.m. and refuses to trim his bushes that hover over your yard.

Or perhaps the cousin you have who was caught shoplifting at the nearest department store.

Some also have fantastic positive attributes. They may be similar to the uncle who does missionary trips with every vacation hour he has in order to help the less fortunate.

Many are a mix between the two.

In the end, they're people and they do things just like everyone else. They are held to a higher standard because of physical ability and the inflated amount of money they earn.

The misstep that some fans make is thinking that these people are heroes because they hit a clutch home run. Or maybe that they're villains because they missed a game-winning field goal in the playoffs.

In a world where the fan sees but a few hours of an athlete's life at a time, it's difficult to see who has the problems and who doesn't.

Every person faces his or her own demons. Off the field, your favorite player might be a narcissistic jerk who won't sign autographs for kids at no charge.

Maybe your least favorite players spends time in the offseason serving food in a soup kitchen to the poor.

The judgment put on athletes due to how much they accomplish on the court, field or ice should be left on the court, field and ice.

Once they step off the playing surface, they're no different than anyone else.

Sometimes, that's hard to remember. If you need any reminder, take a look at the national headlines.

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